Saturday, March 28, 2009

And the Winner Is...Me?

Forgive me my long hiatus, dear readers, and for hosting my own writer's strike (though I am from LA, after all). Life has a habit of sneaking up on me, those to-do lists color-bleeding into one another springing me into inaction--until that damning moment when I'm snapped wide awake wearing nothing but runny pinks. It's not a pretty sight.

Laundry metaphor aside (can you tell literal laundry is also on my list?), I feel the need to document the big upcoming change for the one loyal reader that's left. So, lonely reader, come August, I'll be moving to China, Mainland China--Beijing, to be exact. I feel overwhelmed, mixed, mixed up, a whir of hazy emotions set in spin cycle (damn, here I go again).

On the one hand, I'm thrilled I landed a respected, sought-after school considering the (by all accounts) shit-awful recruitment season and global crisis. And the package is killer compared to South America.

On the other hand, what the fuck--China? Really, self? I am, after all, so classically lazy that I dropped my Spanish lessons here once I figured out how to order a cup of coffee. China--with its gobbledygook alphabet and tonal everything will be devastating in its shock of culture (although to be fair, while I am challenged in the pretty-voice department, I am thankfully not tone-deaf, at least according to my karaoke scores). China--where my allergies-prone self is gonna have to break up in a huge way with Mr. Contact Lenses, my eyes already itchy and wet at the thought of the smog and the rebound affair with Mr. Eyeglasses. [I know that was cheesy, but they can't all be winners. -ed.] China--where the arms of the Benevolent Dictator will have long-reaching effects (YouTube was banned out of the blue for a few days last week, fer christ's sake). China--where, dear God, my physiological need for personal space will be utterly, terrifyingly eviscerated. And did I mention the smog?

But, on the other hand (careful readers will now note my deformed anatomy), China--where spawn will learn Mandarin, and take more theatre courses, and camp at the Great Wall, and be intimate with 5,000 years of culture. China--where I'll finally get my fill of Asia travel (one weekend to Angkor Wat to rekindle some childhood memories, another to Bangkok simply for the food-court curries). China--where my swanky expat compound will have a caf
e that delivers, and a free gym clubhouse, and tennis courts (because you know how much I rock the tennis skort), and, and...

It's never easy, or more accurately, I seem to have a penchant for choosing the difficult over the easy. And as if I'm not free falling enough these days, last week an Argentine coworker stopped by my classroom to pronounce in her typical charming way:
I would hate to be you. I don't know how you to it. Your life is so hectic. Do you even know any Mandarin? Heckling aside, she had a point or two. What *am* I doing starting over? Wasn't it enough to move from the northern hemisphere to the southern, without having to cross into the eastern? Didn't I bust my (professional) balls black & blue trying to prove myself here, and now would have to start all over? Haven't I wept enough tears bidding adieu to family in the States, without having to endure (at least) two more years of this melodrama? Do I ever learn?

And then, fortuitously, I ran into this feel-good quote by Mark Twain:

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

And soon after, I got no less than 21 photos of my new home in Beijing--3 floors of personal space, with windows wide flung to beckon potential clear skies and an outside world of possibilities.

I guess the jury's still out.


Ken said...

Is the smog in China full of msg?

Kidding aside, my guess is you'll immerse yourself in the food and minutiae of the culture, while you charm and overwork your way into the stony hearts of your new co-workers.

As for the boy, I can only imagine the joy he will feel speaking his snark in a new language. Being able to insult people in Mandarin: priceless!

I'm already imaging all of your blog posts, facebook wall comments, and twitter tweets laced with sarcasm and zany details. In a way, that makes us all winners!

Mika said...